When they hear about One Punch Man, most people think of a bald guy in a yellow suit with a red cape punching things. The comedic and almost satirical plot of One Punch Man can be the factor that drives people away from the series. When a main character is too overpowered, the media is exhausting to consume since it feeds the same information repeatedly. But this series manages to make the repetition enticing to its audience; One Punch Man makes an overpowered main character charming and even relatable.
A trope I see commonly in anime/manga that leads to a bored and disengaged audience is the overwhelmingly overpowered main character that doesn’t struggle in fights OR the potentially overpowered main character that constantly gets beat up by their enemies. Both of these tropes are extremely exhausting to watch and read; one of these tropes makes the reader feel like they can’t relate to the main character and the other makes the reader see the main character as some kind of lame pushover with nothing to expect or anticipate. If you’re looking for a manga with characters outside of this treacherous realm, look no further than One Punch Man. Saitama, the main character, was an average Joe until he had an encounter with a monster in his city that terrorized him and his people. He decided to commit himself to train to become stronger every day with what is known infamously as the Saitama Training Routine (100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 km run) and lost his hair in the process. Now if you read the series, Saitama eventually gains tremendous planet-level strength and speed beyond light and sound from such a realistic workout. What people watching/reading One Punch Man tend to overlook is the real message behind the series. Looking away from Saitama, another character named Mumen Rider is an awe-inspiring character. Despite his lack of strength and powers in comparison to other heroes like Tatsumaki and Genos, he has the strongest will and fighting spirit compared to the two of them. Wielding only a bicycle as his weapon, he bravely fought a powerful sea monster that managed to defeat Genos. The message behind One Punch Man is that limits can be exceeded and are meant to be pushed.
What makes Saitama relatable as a character despite literally being able to defeat his enemies with a single punch, blinding speed, and outerversal power is that he retains his own human-like personality during battle. It brings a comedic effect in comparison to other series where the fight is entirely serious and shows character. Outside of battle, Saitama can be seen running errands like any other human being and he hardly boasts that he’s a hero. Like he says, he’s a “hero for fun.” And you’re thinking, yes, my favorite fun activity every other Tuesday has got to be fighting a terrorist alien boss on the moon. But seriously, the way Saitama’s fights are executed, switching from intense, godly illustrated panels to a bad doodle of a comedic expression is what will leave you wanting more. Every time you see a powerful monster or boss, you’ll be waiting to see Saitama fight them with unexpected anticipation and excitement. All in all, if you’re looking for a fun time manga with an amazing art style, check out One Punch Man.